Marrying Quality Assurance with Design Engineering - A Winning Partnership! But, a Cultural Divide?: Preprint

Sarah Kurtz, Govind Ramu, Robert Cornell, Sumanth Lokanath, Edward Hsi, Tony Sample, Masaaki Yamamichi, George Kelly, Ted Spooner, Jonathan Previtali, John Wohlgemuth

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Investors would like to be confident that a PV plant will work as promised before investing large sums of money. Data showing that PV modules can withstand thousands of hours of accelerated testing are a comfort, but are not sufficient. An inability to be confident of every aspect of the system can motivate higher interest rates; high degradation or failure rates can substantially decrease the return on investment and the value of the plant for resale later on. In the end, a winning partnership is obtained when a carefully engineered, durable design is married with a robust quality management system and the marriage is extended across all parts of the value chain. However, this marriage is challenging because of the conventional cultural divide between design engineers and quality management specialists. This paper discusses the motivation for increased emphasis on quality assurance and describes three new standards that detail requirements for a higher level of quality assurance for 1) PV module manufacturing, 2) inverter and other balance-of-systems (BOS) manufacturing, and 3) control of the system installation and operation. The paper concludes with a discussion of the challenges and benefits of marrying the quality assurance program with further optimization of the PV system design.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2018
Event2017 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference - Washington, D.C.
Duration: 25 Jun 201730 Jun 2017


Conference2017 IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
CityWashington, D.C.

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5K00-73960 for paper as published in IEEE proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5J00-67764


  • accelerated testing
  • PV
  • quality assurance


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